A car salesman is the person that sells cars for manufacturers or dealerships. Even though the title says, “car salesman”, it does not mean the job is for men only.
The designation is for both men and women personnel. Sometimes, the position is also referred to as salesperson or sales representative.
Job outlook for people selling cars is promising with the rebounding of the U.S. economy that has seen car sales rising after the slump of 2008 to 2010.
Car sales is now stable and is expected to remain so for the rest of the decade with about 15 million to 17 million new vehicles to be sold annually in addition to about 40 million used car sales. This means it is not a bad idea to want to be a car salesman at this point in time.
Becoming a car salesman can be a good entering point into the automobile industry and it can also be a good opportunity for people who have lost their job or business to begin another career.
However, like most professions, you need to know what is required to be effective selling cars before you take a plunge into it.
What is required of the Car Salesman?
To be effective and successful selling cars, there are certain abilities, knowledge, and skills that prospective employers will be expecting that you are bringing to the table even though they might still give you some form of training on the job.
These include: having the passion for selling cars, and the ability to work with people and talk almost all day in attending to customers and answering their questions.
You should also be able to identify with customers’ desires, interests, lifestyles, and financial status. This will enable you to know exactly the kind of cars they would love and be able to effectively sell it to them.
The would-be car sales representative should be proficient at managing database of possible car buyers, and be able to network.
If you have the above qualities, then you are on your way to a successful career in auto mobile sales.
Educational Requirement and Training in Automobile Sales
To become a car salesman does not require a college degree. A high school diploma is usually required by most employers. However, considering the fact that automobiles are not easy to sell, you would need some form of training to succeed.
Even if you might have had marketing or sales experience in other fields, you will still need to get some specific training to be able to effectively handle car sales.
You can get training in one of two ways:
Through in-house training programs: most dealerships have training programs for newly recruited staff. To qualify for such programs, you should have completed a professional training either in commercial or technical area or both, such as a vocational training as a car salesman.
You can also get into the training program after completing your degree.
The trainings are usually structured to accommodate the skills and needs of all applicants irrespective of their experience, including those without any previous professional experience.
The program, which can last for up to twelve months, gives trainees the skills and information they need to excel in selling cars.
Trainees are exposed to the company’s brand, including its product lines and technology. They are taken through the sales process, including the important consultation techniques, and prepared to be able to handle sales independently from initial contact with customer to getting the sale.
At the completion of the training, participants are awarded a certificate, which could be a diploma.
The second way you could get trained as a car salesperson is through private firms. There are a number of companies out there which specialize on training people for the automobile industry, including sales personnel.
Their clients include individuals who want to be trained to acquire the knowledge and skills required to work for themselves or to seek employment with dealerships. Many dealerships also sponsor their staff to be trained for certain positions.
Some of these firms are the National Auto Academy, nationalautoacademy.com, the Automotive Training Academy, automotivetrainingacademy.com, Auto Sales Academy LTD (ASA), autosalesacademy.net, and the Canadian Automobile Academy Inc., autoacademy.com.
Another way one can be effectively prepared for a career in car sales is to enroll in an apprenticeship program run by some dealerships.
In this program, you will be required to perform a number of duties under supervision, which gives you the opportunity to learn and develop vital skills needed for a successful automobile career.
The Car Salesman’s Salary
Successful car salesmen and women make most of their income from commissions earned on sale rather than on salary.
However, for those just starting out and relying mostly on store walk-in traffic or traffic to the dealership from the Internet, they are paid hourly minimum wage or a little higher depending on the store.
Though the Bureau of Labor Statistics, BLS, doesn’t have a category specifically for the car salesman, its 2012 salary report for employees at automobile dealerships, including sales agents, implied that the car salesperson earned an average hourly wage of $19.11 that year.
Newly recruited salespersons can expect to have about 55 hours of work a week.
For earnings through commissions, the salesman takes between 25% to 30% commission on the sale of a car. The commission is based on the profit the dealership makes on the car and not on its selling price, with profit calculated as the difference between selling price and invoice price.
Automobiles are of different profitability, with exotic cars being more profitable than the common ones. Commissions can range from $100 to $500 per sale.
Obviously, the salesman can build his income by finding ways of selling more cars, including exotic cars. There is no limit therefore to how much money they can make.
In fact, some successful salesmen and women have been known to make a yearly income of $300,000.
Becoming a car salesman at this time obviously looks very rewarding.
Related: How to be a Successful Car Salesman